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The Art in Science

Product Image Stem Star

Stem Star

Shannon Davis, Ph.D., Research Investigator, Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School

This is a section of a mouse pituitary gland and nearby neural tube that has been artificially transformed into a star pattern. The neural tube forms the central star, while the pituitary is the bottle-cap shaped structure on the outside of the stem star. The name, Stem Star, was given because both the neural tube and the pituitary contain stem cells that are responsible for the growth and maintenance of the two organs. The pituitary gland actually derives (in part) from the neural tube; the pituitary is a master gland that controls the activity of other glands that regulate growth, pregnancy, water balance, energy metabolism, blood pressure and the body's response to stress.